These Countries Were CUT From the World Showcase

in Walt Disney World

Performers in front of Spaceship Earth

Credit: D23

The beloved World Showcase in EPCOT could have been a lot longer or taken you on a very different trip around the world.

Germany in World Showcase
Credit: Disney

One of the most iconic parts of Walt Disney World’s EPCOT is the stunning World Showcase. This portion of the Park takes Guests on a journey through 11 global destinations; Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, The American Adventure, Japan, Morocco, France, the United Kingdom, and Canada. In each pavilion, Guests can sample the culture of each country, including traditional food and drink, stunning entertainment, shopping and souvenirs, and attractions with a Disney flair.

However, the 11 quintessential countries were not all originally planned. Some of these countries ended up being entire replacements for other countries that were left on the cutting room floor. Let’s take a look at some of the World Showcase countries that didn’t make it to EPCOT’s opening date and why they were left out of the Park.

Costa Rica

A model of the planned Costa Rica pavilion in EPCOT
Credit: Disney

This was one of the earliest proposed pavilions, representing the tropical Central American country of Costa Rica. It would have been modeled after an open-air market featuring a quick-service restaurant. The main attraction of the pavilion was to be an enormous crystal greenhouse filled with tropical plants, birds, and a waterfall.

Equatorial Africa

Concept art for the Equatorial Africa pavilion in EPCOT
Credit: Disney

This pavilion was intended to open in 1983 and would have stood where the Outpost is today, between China and Germany. It would have featured a live stage show called “The Heartbeat of Africa” and a film narrated by Alex Haley, the author of Roots and one of Disney’s advisors for the pavilion. Since the pavilion was intended to represent several countries, Disney assumed the nations would split the cost, but political unrest in the region made it difficult to secure funding – a South African company did offer to sponsor the pavilion, but Disney turned them down, not wanting to be associated with the apartheid government.

Soviet Union

Concept art for the Soviet Union pavilion in EPCOT
Credit: Disney

This Russia-inspired pavilion was to be part of the “Phase II” expansion of EPCOT. It would have showcased the famous Kremlin in Moscow, dominated by a replica of the colorful St. Basil’s Cathedral. However, as the Soviet Union collapsed in the ’90s, the pavilion was canceled.


Concept art for the Iran pavilion in EPCOT
Credit: Disney

Iran was one of the original pavilions planned for EPCOT’s opening. It would have featured a dark ride that explored Persian history, as well as a bazaar-style shopping plaza, similar to the one in the Morocco pavilion. However, when the Shah of Iran was overthrown in 1979, and the Iranian Revolution began, the pavilion was scrapped.


Concept art for the Israel pavilion in EPCOT
Credit: Disney

Older Disney fans might remember that Israel was advertised on billboards for EPCOT during its construction. The pavilion would have been based on ancient Jerusalem and would have featured a courtyard stage and an open-air restaurant. However, the nation’s ongoing instability and security issues caused the pavilion to be canceled.


Concept art for the Spain pavilion in EPCOT
Credit: Disney

This was another planned pavilion for EPCOT’s Phase II expansion and would have been inspired by a mixture of Barcelona and Madrid. The spacious pavilion would have featured a tapas restaurant and two attractions; a movie highlighting Spain’s landmarks and landscape, and a boat ride that showcased the country’s traditions and culture.


Concept art for the Switzerland pavilion in EPCOT
Credit: Disney

The main goal of the proposed Switzerland pavilion was to have an East Coast version of Disneyland’s famous Matterhorn Bobsleds, and it would have been the centerpiece of the area. Disney was in negotiations with the Swiss government to sponsor the pavilion, but they fell apart in 1987 and Disney was unable to secure a commercial sponsor.

United Arab Emirates

Concept art for the United Arab Emirates pavilion in EPCOT
Credit: Disney

This was another early concept of the World Showcase and would have transformed the Florida landscape into an Arabian desert. The pavilion would have featured a magic carpet attraction (perhaps similar to the one currently in the Magic Kingdom), and a show highlighting the cultural and scientific achievements of the Middle East.


Concept art for the Venezuela pavilion in EPCOT
Credit: Disney

This pavilion was announced in the 80s and would have been the first South American country represented in the World Showcase. The main attraction would have been an aerial tram ride through a rainforest, past sights like a large waterfall and a high-rise built into a cliff. However, negotiations with the Venezuelan government fell through, and the pavilion was scrapped.

Which one of these countries would you like to see in the World Showcase? Or, which ones would YOU add?

in Walt Disney World

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